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Art Law

Published: May 2019


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  • 1.

    When does ownership of art, antiques and collectibles pass from seller to buyer?

  • 2.

    Does the law of your jurisdiction provide that the seller gives the buyer an implied warranty of title?

  • 3.

    Can the ownership of art, antiques or collectibles be registered? Can theft or loss of a work be recorded on a public register or database?

  • 4.

    Does the law of your jurisdiction tend to prefer the victim of theft or the acquirer in good faith of stolen art?

  • 5.

    If ownership in stolen art, antiques or collectibles does not vest in the acquirer in good faith, is the new acquirer protected from a claim by the victim of theft after a certain period?

  • 6.

    Can ownership in art, antiques or collectibles vest in the acquirer in bad faith after a period?

  • 7.

    When does risk of loss or damage pass from seller to buyer if the contract is silent on the issue?

  • 8.

    Must the buyer conduct due diligence enquiries? Are there non-compulsory enquiries that the buyer typically carries out?

  • 9.

    Must the seller conduct due diligence enquiries?

  • 10.

    Does the law provide that the seller gives the buyer implied warranties other than an implied warranty of title?

  • 11.

    If the buyer discovers that the art, antique or collectible is a forgery, what claims and remedies does the buyer have?

  • 12.

    Can a seller successfully void the sale of an artwork of uncertain attribution subsequently proved to be an autograph work by a famous master by proving mistake or error?

  • 13.

    Are there any export controls for cultural property in your jurisdiction? What are the consequences of failing to comply with export controls?

  • 14.

    Other than in relation to endangered species, are there any import controls for cultural property in your jurisdiction? What are the consequences of failing to comply with import controls?

  • 15.

    Does any liability to pay tax arise upon exporting or importing art, antiques or collectibles?

  • 16.

    Outline the main types of tax liability arising from ownership and transfer of art, antiques and collectibles.

  • 17.

    Outline any tax exemptions or special conditions applicable to art, antiques and collectibles.

  • 18.

    In your jurisdiction what is the usual type of security interest taken against art, antiques and collectibles?

  • 19.

    If the borrower borrowing against art assets in your jurisdiction qualifies as a consumer, does the loan automatically qualify as a consumer loan, and are there any exemptions allowing the lender to make a non-consumer loan to a private borrower?

  • 20.

    Is there a public register where security interests over art, antiques or collectibles can be registered? What is the effect of registration? Is the security interest registered against the borrower or the art?

  • 21.

    Can the lender against art collateral perfect its security interest without taking physical possession of the art?

  • 22.

    If the borrower defaults on the loan, may the lender sell the collateral under the loan agreement, or must the lender seek permission from the courts?

  • 23.

    Does the lender with a valid and perfected first-priority security interest over the art collateral take precedence over all other creditors?

  • 24.

    Does copyright vest automatically in the creator, or must the creator register copyright to benefit from protection?

  • 25.

    What is the duration of copyright protection?

  • 26.

    Can an artwork protected by copyright be exhibited in public without the copyright owner’s consent?

  • 27.

    Can artworks protected by copyright be reproduced in printed and digital museum catalogues or in advertisements for exhibitions without the copyright owner’s consent?

  • 28.

    Are public artworks protected by copyright?

  • 29.

    Does the artist’s resale right apply?

  • 30.

    What are the moral rights for visual artists? Can they be waived or assigned?

  • 31.

    Does the law require the agent to account to the principal for any commission or other compensation received by the agent while conducting the principal’s business?

  • 32.

    Does disclosure to the principal that the agent will receive a commission allow the agent to keep the commission unless the principal objects?

  • 33.

    If a third party pays a commission to an agent that is not disclosed to the principal, can the principal claim the commission from the third party?

  • 34.

    How can consignors of artworks to dealers protect their interest in the artwork if the dealer goes into liquidation?

  • 35.

    Are auctions of art, antiques or collectibles subject to specific regulation in your jurisdiction?

  • 36.

    May auctioneers in your country sell art, antiques or collectibles privately; offer advances or loans against art, antiques or collectibles; and offer auction guarantees?

  • 37.

    In what circumstances would the heirs of the party wrongly dispossessed typically prevail over the current possessor, if a court in your country accepted jurisdiction and applied its own law to a claim to art lost during the Nazi era?

  • 38.

    Is there an ad hoc body set up to hear claims to Nazi-looted art?

  • 39.

    Who is responsible for insuring art, antiques or collectibles loaned to a public museum in your jurisdiction?

  • 40.

    Are artworks, antiques or collectibles loaned to a public museum in your country immune from seizure?

  • 41.

    Is there a list of national treasures?

  • 42.

    If the state is interested in buying an artwork for the public collections, does it have a right of pre-emption?

  • 43.

    In what circumstances does ownership in cultural property automatically vest in the state?

  • 44.

    How can a foreign state reclaim in your jurisdiction cultural property illegally exported from its territory?

  • 45.

    What are the anti-money laundering compliance obligations placed on the art trade?

  • 46.

    Is your jurisdiction a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)?

  • 47.

    Is the sale, import or export of pre-CITES endangered species subject to a licence?

  • 48.

    Is the sale, import or export of post-CITES worked or antique endangered species authorised? On what conditions?

  • 49.

    Are there any special rules for works of art made of elephant ivory, rhino horn or other specific endangered animal products?

  • 50.

    In what circumstances may consumers cancel the sale of art, antiques or collectibles?

  • 51.

    Are there any other obligations for art businesses selling to consumers?

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CBM & Partners’ origins date back to the law practice established in Milan by Giuseppe Calabi (1887–1957) in 1909.

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